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Does Offensive Music Make a Hostile Work Environment

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We are approaching the time of year when Christmas carols start playing on the speaker systems of virtually every restaurant and retail store.  No matter how much holiday cheer you possess, and no matter how delightful it is when neighbors knock on your door and sing “Deck the Halls” in harmony in exchange for some apple cider and a candy cane, anyone would become a Scrooge after listening to the umpteenth smooth jazz rendition of “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” blasting over the supermarket speaker system as you scramble to buy groceries you can barely afford as you rush from your first job to your second job.  If you think that a month of secular “holiday music” performed with maximum schmaltz and played at maximum volume is annoying to customers, imagine working in a beachside restaurant where a playlist of the Beach Boys and “Wipeout” plays year-round.  The voice of gratitude would say that, if the worst thing about your job is the music, then your work situation isn’t so bad, but what if the music you must listen to at work is more than just annoying?  Can the music be so bad that it creates a hostile work environment?  If your employer’s decision is so bad that it amounts to harassment, contact a Los Angeles discrimination and harassment lawyer.

Music Was Just the Beginning of the Problems That Warehouse Workers Faced

This month, a judge in San Diego reinstated a lawsuit by eight former employees of a warehouse, in which they claimed that the music played on the loudspeakers in the workplace contributed to a hostile work environment.  The plaintiffs, namely seven women and one man, claimed that the warehouse managers blasted offensive music over the warehouse’s sound system; it was offensive because it contained obscene language and sexually suggestive themes which the plaintiffs claim were derogatory to women.  The plaintiffs complained to management about the music numerous times, but each time, the managers refused to change the music, claiming that it was motivational.

After two years, the plaintiffs filed a lawsuit in which they claimed that the music contributed to a hostile work environment which constituted sex discrimination.  They also cited other examples of harassment that contributed to this work environment.  They claimed that coworkers would also make obscene gestures, use obscene and offensive language, and openly share sexually explicit images and videos at work.  A trial court dismissed the plaintiffs’ lawsuit, but they filed an appeal.  In November 2023, an appeals court reinstated the lawsuit, arguing that offensive remarks and abusive language create a hostile work environment, whether or not they are set to music.

Speak With a Los Angeles Hostile Work Environment Lawyer

A Los Angeles employment discrimination lawyer can help you if your employer is creating a hostile work environment through the unchecked offensive conduct of coworkers or even through the music that plays in the workplace.  Contact Obagi Law Group, P.C. in Los Angeles, California to discuss your situation or call 424-284-2401.

Source:

sandiegouniontribune.com/business/story/2023-06-19/motivational-workplace-music-may-motivate-lawsuit

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